Throwback Thursday: Christmas Cards!

On Monday evening, Mr DB and I wrapped up in hats and scarves and went on a walk amid the village’s twinkling Christmas lights to post handmade cards to our family and friends. But when and where did this festive tradition originate?

The custom of sending Christmas cards was begun in Victorian Britain (1843) when Sir Henry Cole commissioned John Callcott Horsley to illustrate a Christmas scene which could be sent as a card using the new ‘Public Post Office’. However, the cards were priced at one shilling each and were therefore too expensive for the average Victorian. Despite the first batches of ‘elitist’ cards, the sentiment caught on and soon many children (including those in the Royal family) were encouraged to create their own. Over the next few years advances in printing technology led to  cheaper card production. Combined with the introduction of halfpenny postage, the Christmas card industry took off. Sending Christmas cards had grown so significantly in popularity that by 1880, 11.5 million cards were produced in just one year. The custom of sending Christmas cards was well and truly integrated into festive tradition.


Sir Henry Cole & John Callcott Horsley’s design for the first commercial Christmas Card.

Over the years, so many beautiful Christmas card designs have emerged and luckily for us, people have documented them online. Therefore I thought I’d share a few with you which have caught my eye and could be used as inspiration for an array of amazing sews long in the future. (All images have been sourced on Pinterest.)

How about these adorable little sleep suits? These always remind me of The Night Before Christmas from Disney’s Silly Symphonies (1933) which I would watch every year at my grandparent’s house.



These festive dresses are beautiful and classic and would look amazing in any era in front of a Christmas tree!





Finally, you all know from my previous post just how much I love cosy vintage coats for girls, so here’s a few card designs for those of you who feel the same…






And there you have it! Which is your favourite of the designs? I’m struggling to pick one, but I think I’ll have to go with the red-check, dropped waist dress. I love it paired with that big red bow! If you liked this little glimpse into Christmas past, and enjoyed this vintage and festive-filled post, I’d love to hear from you- just leave a comment below or over on the Dobbin’s Bobbins Facebook or Instagram accounts!




Throwback Thursday: Christmas Stockings!

Stockings hang enticingly during December, a constant reminder that Santa will be visiting soon.

Whilst nobody really knows how the tradition of hanging a Christmas stocking begun, legend suggests that it started with Saint Nicholas. Concerned for a poor father of three daughters, he climbed down the family’s chimney with three bags of gold. Discovering the girls’ stockings drying on the mantelpiece, he left enough gold for each of their dowries inside them, before continuing with his Christmas Eve ventures. News of Saint Nicholas’ kindness spread and soon children begun hanging their own stockings or shoes, hoping he would visit them and bestow the same kindness.

During the 20th century it became more and more popular to create special Christmas stockings for children to leave for Santa, rather than use their everyday socks, as was customary for centuries. Here are a few vintage stocking patterns that I hope will inspire you and your family to have a go at creating your very own.

1957 Vintage Simplicity 2327 Transfer Pattern For Christmas Stockings.

Lets begin with my favourite of the little collection that I’ve gathered. I absolutely love the example on the top left. It has it all; pom pom trim, striped piping and Christmas appliqué. Although I also love the use of ric-rac as an edging, as well as the personalised cuffed edges of ‘Mom’ & ‘Dad’s’ stockings. They would adorable all hung up in a row!

Vintage McCall’s Christmas Stocking Pattern 1830 with transfers.

Once again, a pom pom trim has been used to finish of the top of my favourite stocking and I love it! I also really like the simplistic designs used here- perfect for children to get involved!

McCalls 2411 1960s Appliqued Christmas Stocking Pattern.

The appliqué on your vintage-inspired stocking can be as simple or as complicated as you like. This pattern shows how busy and colourful designs can be really fun. I really like the lacy scallops along the cuffed edges of these stockings.

1970s Vintage Edna Looney Felt Christmas Stocking Kit.

Why not have a stocking design session one evening? Sit everyone together at the table, get the paints/crayons/glitter out and have each family member design their perfect stocking on paper which you can then use as sewing inspiration! Kids (and adults!) will love seeing their designs come to life!

1916 Sears Big Christmas Stocking stuffed with lots of toys and treats!

Close of the 1916 Sears Stocking

Close of the 1916 Sears Stocking

And if all that talk of stockings has left you feeling concerned that your child’s is currently looking a little empty and need a bit of inspiration for fillers, take a look at this incredible advert from the Sears catalogue in 1916! What better way to fill a vintage-inspired stocking, than with vintage-inspired toys and treats? Think tiny teddy bears and dolls, a pack of playing cards, boxes of wax and chalk crayons, a skipping rope, paints and paintbrushes, bubbles and butterscotch! The list goes on!

My Christmas Fabric Picks!

With only 60 more sleeps until Christmas, I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that they need to pull up their festive sewing socks soon! I’ve scoured some of my favourite online fabric sources and plucked out a few of those which have been tempting me to part with my pennies.

Wonderland- Cars (£12 p/m from The Village Haberdashery)

Has anyone else noticed that Christmas fabric is predominantly very feminine? I think this is the reason I really love the Wonderland print above. It would look great sewn up as a shirt for the little man in your life. Plus I love the nostalgic quality of the illustrations- they remind me of vintage Christmas cards. Classic but fun- my favourite stylistic combination!

Fair Isle- Arctic Woods in White ($12.95 p/yard from Hawthorne Threads)

Another great unisex Christmas fabric, this print would be perfect for Oliver + S’s Lullaby Layette pattern. It’s just so calming and I love the stitch effect used for the trees.  The fabric could also look gorgeous sewn up as bedding for a crib during the winter months.

Reindeer Stripe Green Cotton Flannel Fabric (£14.50 p/m from Guthrie & Ghani)

This is one classy Christmas print, right? I absolutely love the art deco feel, and the way the colours exude a sense of time gone by. It’s just breathtaking and has the added bonus of being a super cosy flannel. A selfish sew perhaps? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Winter Forest Grey- Kate & Birdie Winterberry (£13 p/m from The Homemakery)

This subtle textured print stole my heart with its simplicity whilst I was busy browsing The Homemakery’s beautiful website. I think that this would work incredibly for the new and improved Straight Grain Tinny Dress. Team it with a berry-red ribbon around the waist, and I think you will have created the perfect winter outfit for any little girl.

Scandi Stocking Advent Panel- Makower (£7.20 from The Home Makery)

Scandi Stocking Advent Panel- Makower (£7.20 from The Homemakery)

I am so in love with this. Scandinavian designs, for me, epitomise Christmas. There’s just something so homely and timeless about them. I’ve discovered that Nicola has already made the calendar here– the stockings are just so darn cute! This is making me seriously reconsider my advent calendar plans… Maybe I could make one for treats and another for our Christmas activities?

Scandi Reindeer Red- Makower (£11.40 p/m from The Homemakery)

This next and final design has been well publicised in pretty much every sewing magazine and has featured all over Instagram. And for good reason- it’s beautiful! From the same Scandi collection as the advent panel above, it exudes all of the same festive charm. The possibilities for this design are endless. We’re talking quilts, cushions, placemats, tea cosies. And that’s just the home-ware! I personally fancy making this into an apron for when I start making all of those Christmas mince pies!

So there you have it, a few of my favourites of this year’s festive fabric offerings! I’d love to hear what everyone has planned for their Christmas sews, so make sure to leave a comment/link below or on my Facebook page. Happy Christmas sewing!